Ceremony of Remembrance and Reflection 2005

Wales National Great Famine Memorial
Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff.

Thursday 17 March, 2005 - Saint Patrick's Day
Commencing at 11.00 a.m.

The ceremony will be preceded by a special Mass at 9.15 am in Saint Joseph's RC Church, New Zealand Road, Cathays, for St. Patrick's Day, for displaced persons, for refugees, for emigrants, for exiles everywhere and for peace with justice in our world.

The Great Famine in Ireland (1845—1850) caused the loss of almost two and a half million people who were forced to emigrate "to Heaven or overseas...".
Our thoughts will be with emigrants, exiles, refugees, asylum seekers and all who have been forced by war, famine, and injustice to leave their native land or who have chosen to do so in search of a better life for themselves and for their children.


(The MC throughout will be Colin Sangster of Saint Joseph's RC Parish, Cathays, Cardiff).

1. John Sweeney, Chair, Wales Famine Forum: Address of Welcome

2.Colin Sangster: the New Testament account of the Flight into Egypt and the Massacre of the Innocents
Matthew 2. 13 - 18.

3. The Cardiff Reds Choir / Côr Cochion Caerdydd:
The National Anthem of South Africa. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.
This is South Africa's great National Anthem. Originally a Christian hymn, it now represents the hopes and aspirations of poor and marginalised people, not just in its homeland, but all over Africa itself and in the wider world.

4.Brief remarks:
a) Councillor Jacqui Gasson, Lord Mayor of Cardiff;
b) Colm McGrady, Consul General of Ireland in Wales;
c) Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, Presiding Officer, the National Assembly for Wales;
d) The Most Reverend Peter Smith, RC Archbishop of Cardiff.

The Reverend Aled Edwards, Chair, Displaced People in Action, Cardiff, and Church Liaison Officer, National Assembly for Wales.

6. Prayers for Peace:


It was their faith and commitment to the Church which bound our ancestors together when life for them was at its lowest ebb. Let us pray for a rekindling and strengthening of our own faith so that we too may leave our children, and our children’s children, a lasting legacy.

Lord hear us!
(response) Lord graciously hear us.

The Cardiff Reds Choir:
Dona Nobis Pacem ('Give Us Peace') [A traditional Latin hymn consisting of just three words which is often sung in the cause of peace].


It was hope for a better life that made them leave their famine-torn land to live among strangers. They were scorned, rejected and despised by many, but the number of their descendants here today are a witness to their strength and determination to survive. Let us be mindful of all asylum seekers and refugees throughout the world and let us pray that they will find solace in the arms of caring countries.

Lord hear us!
(response) Lord graciously hear us.

Cardiff Reds Choir: Dona Nobis Pacem ('Give Us Peace').


It was the charity of neighbours that helped feed many Irish families and saw them through desperate times. Let us remind ourselves that these are still desperate times for people living in many countries in today’s tragically divided world. and that every day thousands are dying of starvation through poverty and injustice. Let us be generous in coming to their aid.

Lord hear us!
(response) Lord graciously hear us.

Cardiff Reds Choir: Dona Nobis Pacem ('Give Us Peace').


The tragic events in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, the Maldives, in Iraq, the Holy Land and in other places remind us that disaster can strike without warning at any time, that when good people do nothing evil flourishes and that the good life most people in our part of the world enjoy today can never be secure as long as we remain indifferent to the injustice, oppression and inequality that so many of our fellow human beings have to endure elsewhere. Let us have the wisdom to work for fair play all over the world – the lives we may then help to save might even be our own.

Lord hear us!
(response) Lord graciously hear us.

Cardiff Reds Choir: Dona Nobis Pacem ('Give Us Peace').


Rho inni'r hedd sy'n ein galluogi i gymodi gyda'n cymdogion ym mhob man, yr hedd sy'n cael ei feithrin gan gyfiawnder, nes troi yn dangnefedd mewnol.

Arglwydd, clyw ein llef!
(ymateb) Arglwydd, gwrando ein gweddi.

(PEACE Grant us the peace which enables us to get along with our neighbours everywhere, the peace that is nourished by justice and that then becomes an inner peace).
Côr Cochion Caerdydd: Dona Nobis Pacem ('Rho i ni hedd'').

7.One minute's silence.

8.Wreaths placed at the base of the Memorial by:
a) The Lord Mayor on behalf of the City and County of Cardiff and
b) Jointly by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Colm McGrady on behalf of the peoples of Wales and of Ireland.

9.Bunches / bouquets / single flowers / texts etc. placed at the base of the memorial by pupils from from the following schools in the Cathays area:
a) Allensbank Primary School;
b) Gladstone Primary School;
c) Saint Joseph's RC Primary;
d) Ysgol Mynydd Bychan.

10.Cardiff Reds Choir:
Sliabh Geal gCua.
This song was originally composed in Irish as Sliabh Geal gCua by Pádraig Ó Miléadha (1877 – 1947), an exile from the Decies area in West Waterford who lived in the Swansea Valley for about 20 years before and after WW1.
It gives exquisite and painful expression to the feelings of those forced by economic necessity to live far from their home, from their friends and from their language.
The choir will begin by singing two verses in Irish before singing all of the song in Welsh.

11.Dave Burns:
The Country I'm Leaving Behind
This beautiful and poignant song of exile comes from the former Irish community of Newtown in Cardiff. Dave Burns was astonished to find that it was quite unknown in Ireland when he first visited his ancestral homeland in the late 1960s.
Although its melody, style and words clearly indicate that it was written – possibly in Wales – by someone from Ireland, this is a song that echoes the deep feelings of hurt, displacement and loss felt by all emigrants no matter where they may have set out from.

12.The Cardiff Reds Choir:
a)Amhrán na bhFiann, the National Anthem of Ireland.
b)Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, the National Anthem of Wales.


After the ceremony there will be a Fáilte / Croeso / Welcome from 12.00 o'clock at Saint Joseph's Catholic (Social) Club on Whitchurch Road. A buffet will be provided.

Arranged, with the co-operation of Saint Joseph's Parish and Cardiff City and County Council, by the Wales Famine Forum.



A selection of related articles which may bring tears, smiles and pride.


Wales National Great Famine Memorial

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